Public Policy as Revenge: Patrick Newman on the Tom Woods Show

By: Tho Bishop
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We’ve known for a while now that Donald Trump is not a fan of Jeff Bezos or Amazon. Tweets from the President confirmed prior reports that he takes particular exception to the rates the US Post Office charges Amazon for their delivery services, as well as voicing your standard protectionist concerns about how delivery services threaten brick and mortar businesses. 

Of course some speculate that Trump’s particular fixation with Amazon may have something to do with another branch of the Bezopus – the Washington Post

The Post has gained the reputation as one of the Trump Administration’s most frequent critics, and added “Democracy Dies in Darkness” underneath its masthead in response to the President’s attacks on the media. New York Magazine has helpfully compiled a list of some of Trump’s attacks the paper, including a few barbed tweets. 

While the idea of public policy being waged as a form of revenge is rightfully terrifying, it’s certainly not new.

At last weekend’s Austrian Economics Research Conference, Dr. Patrick Newman presented a paper on the origins of the Sherman Antitrust Act contending that the origins and lobbying for the legislation in part stemmed from a personal grudge between Ohio Sen John Sherman and Michigan Governor Russell Alger. Sherman believed Alger was to blame for him failing to become the Republican nominee in 1888, and was determined to make sure Alger paid the price  for it. The paper was inspired by Newman’s work as the editor of the recently published Rothbard book on the Progressive Era.

He recently joined the Tom Woods Show to talk about the paper. It’s a fascinating conversation, and a worthwhile anecdote the next time a friend complains about how bad modern politics is these days (in reality, it was never really good to begin with.) 

 

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